It has been a tough fight to get women’s work registered and counted in the national and global arena. During a recent event, ThinkBig 2016 Summit organized for women entrepreneurs in Karnataka recently, the National Commission for Women Chief, Lalitha Kumaramanagalam, aptly brought out the fact that women’s work in the Indian economy is nowhere correctly reflected in any of the government organised researches, as most of it is informal.
“No statistics in the country adequately reflect the contribution women make to the Indian economy as most of it is informal. Investing in women is a necessity as 80 per cent of the work force and 90 per cent of the informal sector is constituted by women, particularly in agriculture. But women own only 2 per cent of assets as they do not inherit property and because of these banks refuse loans as there is no security,” said Lalitha, as reported by The New Indian Express.
She called out the average Indian woman who is undernourished, underpaid and underrepresented. “The women in this conference are not representative of the average Indian woman because she is undernourished, underrepresented and underpaid,” Lalitha said.
Lalitha, who runs an NGO called Prakriti, shed light on the pathetic working conditions for working women and how the growth in that department is at such a slow pace. Giving example of the crèche facility set up by the NCW when she was the chairperson, she said that it is the first since its inception in 1992.
“Basic things like a creche at a workplace is not a favour but a right. The amount of money and time that is wasted on training someone new, inexperienced and incompetent is much greater than what companies invest in setting up a creche at a workplace. If women cannot bring their infants to the workplace, they cannot breastfeed them and will be away from work. Why replace them and hire someone new?” she said.
Apart from Karnataka, officially Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu also contribute to women entrepreneurs in a major way. But though women entrepreneurs are coming up in a big way, it is also true that working conditions for them is deplorable. The government needs to up their stream of work in that direction to not just facilitate women entrepreneurs but also working women so that more families find it easier to send their women out for work.
Picture credit- The Hindu